WORK to strengthen sea defenses in West Somerset is set to start next week – as 1800 tonnes of rock armour arrives on site.

The £4million investment for the coastal defence is being funded through a Government highways grant and will enable rock armour to be installed at the foot of eroding cliffs to protect the B3191 at Blue Anchor.

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Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) carried out initial works earlier this July to stabilize the wall and reduce the risk of collapse.

The road has been subject to landslides for years, and repairing the damage is costly.

John Buttivant, coastal engineer for the Environment Agency, said: “This area has been a priority for some time and we are pleased to be able to work with SWT to deliver this much needed emergency scheme.”

The second phase, due to next week, will involve using the rock armour to provide additional protection at the foot of the cliff.

These two phases of work are being funded by a grant of £385,000 from the Environment Agency.

Cllr Sarah Wakefield, executive member for Environmental Services said: “SWT is delighted to have been awarded a grant by the Environment Agency which is enabling us to take urgent action to protect the vulnerable sea cliffs in this area.

“The intention is to be on site at the earliest opportunity with the aim of ensuring, if possible, that the work is carried out before the winter storms.

“This is another exciting project being delivered by the council to protect our coastal communities and I’d like to thank the Environment Agency for their support.”

This area of Blue Anchor Beach and the slipway will be closed for up to four weeks, while the work is completed.